Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Ask Jeeves

This afternoon was the #1 son's first Academic Team competition. They hosted a much bigger school, the school that my sons would attend if I didn't haul them into my teaching district with me. This school has about three times the enrollment of my school.

I have been telling the #1 son that his team would be hurtin' for certain, what with the girl who used to answer the majority of their questions now cooling her heels in 9th grade. Even though my boy was the #2 go-to guy on the team last year as a 7th grader, he was no match for that girlie. They would compete to see who scored the most points, and if he ever beat her, it was only in one match. It doesn't matter who knows the right answers--it matters who knows the right answers and buzzes in first. She outgunned him on a regular basis. You snooze, you lose, in the high-powered world of Middle School Academia.

The #1 son and his left-hand man had only been to two team practices because basketball consumed their every waking moment. The Academic coaches didn't care. They wanted those boys. They bent over backwards to accommodate the athletes. Unfortunately, the #1 son's right-hand man decided to quit the Academic Team last week. I asked why, and the #1 son replied, "He's a loser." Which was kind of funny, the way these kids insult each other. Maybe he was tired of practices, maybe he didn't want to go from being a big fish in the little pond of basketball to being a little fish in the big pond of Academia. We'll never know. He played last year, and was quite handy in the math category. At least we still had left-hand history man left.

The opponents were a bit late to arrive because their bus driver said, "You mean the NEW school?" and the coach said, "Sure." She explained that she thought, 'Well, they could have built a new middle school since I was there last.' So much for thinking. As Basementia Buddy told her after an outburst of guffaws, "That'll be the day, when BASEMENTIA gets a new building. If I'm lucky, my grandchildren might one day see it." Nobody minded that the other team was 15 minutes late, since last year they were an hour late. I don't know the excuse for that one.

The competition commenced, and the audience learned that today's youth does not know that Quito is in Ecuador, that problems with equilibrium, and eventually liver disease, results from the abuse of alcohol (not marijuana or cigarettes), that the now-extinct bird that once was so plentiful it darkened the sky was the passenger pigeon, not the dodo, and that the brain is made up mostly of the compound water, not air.

There were four quarters of 15 minutes each. All seven members of our team got to play at least a quarter. Basementia Buddy, the official question-reader, only embarrassed herself once. That was when she told the opponents that their answer was wrong, and then gave the correct answer. Without giving our team their chance to answer. We forgave her.

The final score was 61-37.

We opened up a royal can of WhoopButt on them. 1-0, baby! We are undefeated!

The #1 son was the star of the game. Not that I'm bragging or anything. He scored over half our points. Mabel knows what I'm talkin' about. He is...how you say...gifted in the field of Academia. These are his glory days.

And he hasn't picked the final splinters out of his butt from the basketball bench yet.

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